Liberty and Democracy

Liberty and Democracy

Editor: Tibor R. Machan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-2922-0
Publication Date: 10/28/2002
Pages: 115

"These days," says Tibor R. Machan, "almost everybody believes in democracy. But not everybody agrees on just what democracy is." If we accept the literal meaning of the word as "the rule of the people," do "the people" constitute some entity over and above the individuals of whom it is composed? Is it then right if "the people" vote to stop individuals from using their money for private instead of government schools? Or right if they vote to stop gays and lesbians from marrying? Public policies like these violate the rights of some individuals, yet many think "the will of the people" justifies such actions.

In Liberty and Democracy, contributors grapple with the issue of the proper role of democracy in a society that is committed to respecting and protecting the individual rights of all members. They challenge conventional thinking, offering an assortment of perceptive and provocative ideas on democracy and individual freedom.

John Hospers asserts, among other things, that the Constitution is a profoundly antifederal government document and shows why. Gregory R. Johnson reviews the thoughts of the first founding father—Aristotle—on freedom, individualism, and popular government and explains why the Greek philosopher would today be situated to the right of Patrick Buchanan. Loren E. Lomasky considers our "default democracy," questioning whether democracy is merely the "least bad" solution to the problem of political organization. Neera K. Badhwar looks at the issue of moral worth and the worth of rights: Are we all morally equal—or equally valuable to society—or is there a natural hierarchy of worth among human beings?


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Tibor R. Machan

Tibor R. Machan is a Hoover research fellow, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and holds the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University.


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The Democratic Ideal
Tibor R. Machan

Default and Dynamic Democracy
Loren E.Lomasky

The First Founding Father:
Aristotle on Freedom and Popular Government
Gregory R.Johnson

Thoughts on Democracy
John Hospers

Moral Worth and the Worth of Rights
Neera K.Badhwar


The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the thirty-first president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs. The views expressed in its publications are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.

Hoover Institution Press Publication No. 504
Copyright © 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

First printing 2002

08070605040302 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Manufactured in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Liberty and democracy / edited by Tibor R. Machan.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8179-2922-3
1. Democracy. 2. Liberty. I. Machan, Tibor R.

JC423 .L5178 2002




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